Thursday, August 4, 2011

Preseason Top 25 thoughts

Today is a big day for college football fans. The first official top 25 poll has been released! I plan on writing a lot about college football (mostly A&M and Big 12 related) this coming year and here's a good excuse to start that party.

Here's the list:

Aug. 4, 2011 - preseason poll

Rank Team (first-place votes) 2010 record Points Final 2010 ranking 
1. Oklahoma (42) 12-2 1,454 6 
2. Alabama (13) 10-3 1,414 11 
3. Oregon (2) 12-1 1,309 3 
4. LSU (2) 11-2 1,296 8t 
5. Florida State 10-4 1,116 16 
6. Stanford 12-1 1,101 4 
7. Boise State 12-1 1,065 7 
8. Oklahoma State 11-2 933 10 
9. Texas A&M 9-4 885 21 
10. Wisconsin 11-2 829 8t 
11. Nebraska 10-4 814 19 
12. South Carolina 9-5 779 22 
13. Virginia Tech 11-3 767 15 
14. Arkansas 10-3 750 12 
15. TCU 13-0 687 2 
16. Ohio State 12-1 631 5 
17. Michigan State 11-2 536 14 
18. Notre Dame 8-5 440 NR 
19. Auburn 14-0 329 1 
20. Mississippi State 9-4 301 17 
21. Missouri 10-3 266 18 
22. Georgia 6-7 260 NR 
23. Florida 8-5 240 NR 
24. Texas 5-7 162 NR 
25. Penn State 7-6 161 NR 

Others receiving votes 
Arizona State (6-6) 158; West Virginia (9-4) 149; Utah (10-3) 50; Miami (Fla.) (7-6) 49; Iowa (8-5) 41; Northwestern (7-6) 30; Arizona (7-6) 28; Central Florida (11-3) 22; Michigan (7-6) 19; Air Force (9-4) 15; North Carolina (8-5) 14; Houston (5-7) 13; South Florida (8-5) 9; Hawaii (10-4) 8; Clemson (6-7) 7; Tennessee (6-7) 7; Southern Miss (8-5) 6; Brigham Young (7-6) 5; North Carolina State (9-4) 4; Northern Illinois (11-3) 4; Oregon State (5-7) 4; Pittsburgh (8-5) 3; Washington (7-6) 3; Georgia Tech (6-7) 1; Nevada (13-1) 1. 

So, let's start with teams ranked too high. My first instinct is Alabama. I don't think they can make it through the year with 0 or 1 loss, which is what they would need to be #2. Of course one question that is perpetually unsolved is the question of whether or not a preseason poll is supposed to guess the outcome of the year or is it supposed to rank where you think the teams are relative to each other right now. For my purposes today, I'm commenting on whether or not the teams will finish where they start.

Of course I'm excited to see Texas A&M at #9. This is the first time in ages the Ags have been a top 10 team. The only problem is that as much as I love my team and see real potential, I don't think we'll be that high come January. I'll touch on it a lot more in a later post, but I see A&M as a 9-3 regular season team, probably finishing the year ranked somewhere in the high teens. Of course 10-12 regular season wins are legitimately possible with everything we have coming back, but I don't believe it will happen.

I think South Carolina is a bit high at #12. I respect coach Spurrier a lot and think he's a great coach, but I think SC has reached a ceiling, and in the brutal SEC, which has 8 of its 12 teams ranked, I don't see South Carolina coming out of it with enough wins to justify a ranking that high. The fact of the matter is, when you do have that many teams from the same conference that are all ranked, some of them are going to get knocked out and underperform, just because of the schedule and the parity. 

I'm not sold on Ohio State at #16 or Notre Dame at #18. Ohio State obviously has a ton of adjustments to go through after losing their coach and several of their players including the stud QB. Notre Dame is ranked in the top 20 every season, no matter what, so I'm not surprised to see them there, but I'm at a point with them where I'll believe they're a quality team once they show it for a whole year. I do like their coach though and think in the next few years their ranking will be well-deserved.

And finally, let's just all admit that it's laughable to see the Texas Longhorns at #24. Let's be honest, this is just a name pick, just like Notre Dame is every year. If you took the logos off of every helmet and presented a fact sheet about every team to an impartial group, no one, and I mean NO ONE, would rank the team that showed up with Texas' resume. They went 5-7 last year, and this year's schedule only features two teams- that's right, TWO- that Texas beat last year. They have no proven QB, are relying on a true freshman running back, they only return two proven wide receivers, their offensive line was bad, they lost 3 of their 4 starters in the secondary, and they have a whole new coaching staff. Granted, they always recruit well and they could easily sneak their way into a good season if things go well, but no sane person should ever include the team I just described in the top 25. Not when they are leaving out Miami, Utah, W. Virginia, Air Force, S. Florida, Nevada, Pitt, NC State, Iowa and a handful of others with far better resumes than Texas. I'll have much more on Texas at a later date.

There are a few teams I would move up. Wisconsin is one I really like. They're always good, they play solid defense and can run the ball, and they play in a weak conference. But now they get a proven QB for this season in transfer Russell Wilson, who was one of the best QB's in NC State history the last three years and now will play for Wisconsin after graduating from NC State and having one year of eligibility left. Huge pickup for the Badgers and I think they're a top 5 team.

Virginia Tech is another I'd move up. They play a notoriously weak conference and are head and shoulders above anyone in the conference on a yearly basis. Beamer has the formula down and doesn't vary from it. They return enough from what was a VERY good team last year. Don't be shocked to see them in yet another BCS game.

Finally, I'll pick Florida as another underrated team. Yes, they too have to face the brutality of the SEC schedule, but I think Florida still has more athletes than any other team, and I think that Will Muschamp is actually a great defensive coach who will be able to slow down everyone they face. Meanwhile, the offense is going to be very interesting now that they have Charlie Weiss installing his NFL style passing game. Weiss's Notre Dame teams did very well offensively in his first couple years before falling off. I don't know if it was a talent issue or if teams figured him out, but I think that once again, he will come right in and have a successful offense. They have a winning culture at Florida, and I think that goes a long way, and it's why I'm more sold on them than I am on some other SEC teams like South Carolina and Mississippi State.

No comments:

Post a Comment